Indigo or Ai-dyed items:
At 45rpm, we are known for the variety of garments we offer in indigo or ai-dye.
When we use the term indigo here, we are referring to an aniline or synthetic indigo dye. In aniline indigo dyes, the dye molecule mimics that of natural plant indigo; a large molecule that does not penetrate the fibers, but sits on top of it, hence the crocking or bleeding that people need to be aware of and at the same time, that which offers us a more beautiful faded blue with wear and use.
All of our indigo-dyed garments are yarn dyed by machine, not garment dyed, in order to achieve a rich dark blue color. Indigo-dyed items fade beautifully over time, and our denim products dyed with Indigo especially age well with a high contrasting color between the blue dye and the white of the yarn.
When we refer to Ai-dyed items, we are talking about a Japanese natural plant dye. Garments which are Ai-dyed at 45rpm are always yarn-dyed by hand. For example, with Ai-dyed denim, the skeins of yarn are dyed twice a day for two weeks to achieve their fullest color.
Ai-dyed garments tend not to fade in the same way the aniline indigo items do. Ai-dyed clothing tends to fade more evenly, and the color becomes a softer hue of blue rather than the chiaroscuro effect achievable in the indigo-dyed items.
Please refer to care instructions for Indigo.
Hand-finishing – Hand-distressing:
Most of our distressed denim products, whether they be jeans or shirts, are finished by hand. The process takes much longer, and we are not able to produce much of these items at a time. We think you will notice the difference and appreciate the attention to detail!
Mottainai is a Japanese term, which roughly translates to the English usage of the concept, Reduce – Reuse – Recycle. The term would be used in an instance where one would respond by saying, “What a waste!” This one word term was popularized internationally by Wangari Maathai, the Nobel Peace Prize winning Kenyan environmentalist. At 45rpm, we hate to waste fabric and materials, so we occasionally offer you products with the mottainai spirit!
Khadi fabric is a favorite of ours here at 45rpm. Traditionally handspun and hand-woven , we are able to get varying degrees of thickness, from very thin to quite heavy – but always with the beauty of handmade imperfections. We get our khadi cloth mostly from India, but a little bit from Bangladesh, as well. Khadi is famously Indian, since Mahatma Gandhi iconicized the fabric as an indigenous product made by local hands and resources in order to fight colonial and global influences.
One-wash denim has been washed or rinsed once after the garment is constructed. Losing it’s starching and shrinking down to the proper size, these garments are in essence pre-shrunk.
The term Suminando refers to our black indigo series of clothing. Often we will offer products in both indigo blue as well as a black version.
In Japanese, sumi refers to black ink used in traditional calligraphy, while nando refers to some sort of storage shed void of light.
First, the yarn is dyed with indigo, then with black. When these garments are new, they appear to be a normal black. As you wear and wash your item, over time, the garment will have blue undertones, as the piece begins to crock or bleed.
Care instructions for Suminando products are similar to that of our indigo-dyed products.
Selvedge – Selvage:
We use the term selvedge in two ways: in reference to the type of fabric we are using in a particular garment or to the actual selvedge edge of the specific fabric we are using for a garment.
Selvedge is the naturally finished edge of a piece of fabric as it is woven on the loom. Most of our denim pants, for instance, we call selvedge denim. On the underside of the outseam, you will see in most of our denim a natural red selvedge. Denim looms which produce this 30” wide fabric are generally pre-war, originally from the U.S., and subsequently all exist today in Japan. During the 70s and 80s with the advent of mass production of denim here in the U.S., these machines were not being used, while in Japan, there was a huge demand for new denim produced in the authentic vintage manner.
Besides denim, we also have other items that utilize selvedge fabric. Incorporating the selvedge edge into a garment, you always know it is difficult for these items to be mass-produced.
Suvin is a hybrid cotton combining Sea Island cotton and Sujata cotton from India. This is an Extra Long Staple cotton rivaling the more well known Egyptian cotton. Growing this cotton can be quite difficult, and subsequently very rare to find. Sometimes referred to as the Silk of Cottons, and used in couture, but here we like to use it in our own rough-hewn way. Many garments in the UMII 908 collection utilize Suvin cotton, including our standard Umii Denim Pants.
Zimbabwean cotton, regarded as one of the finest cottons in the world, becomes even scarcer as fewer farmers grow the plant. However, we continue to use the long staple cotton, only buying from farmers who grow organically and who pick by hand rather than machine. The type of garments we make with this cotton showcase the versatility we can achieve with this long fiber cotton. From our sturdy 14 oz. Sorahiko denim to our extra fine-knit Supergauze t-shirts, you can really enjoy the textures.
•Cotton Products from 45rpm
For the most part, our cotton is pre-shrunk fabric, however we like to think the best care for our cotton products is to machine wash everything cold; wash colors separately, especially because we have so many indigo-dyed products; and line-dry everything so that things last longer and feel crisp.
We also like line-drying for that nice wrinkled look. If there is anything that must NOT be tumble-dried, we will specify it in the product description.
•Indigo and Ai-dyed Products
45rpm uses aniline indigo dyes as well as a natural Japanese plant indigo, which we refer to as Ai. Both types of dyes should always be machine washed separately with other darks. We also recommend that you do not wear your new indigo garments with light colored clothing until the dye has significantly crocked. Some indigo-dyed items have already been distressed or washed by 45rpm. As well, different fabrics, whether they be knit t-shirts or woven fabrics, take different amounts of wash and wear for the dye to be safe to wear with light-colored clothing. Eg. Please be careful when wearing pearls, light colored handbags, or shoes that you do not want to get blue. If the indigo dye does come off onto other clothing a little bit, this usually washes out.
We like our indigo to fade with wear and washing as the color changes nicely. However, some choose to dry clean indigo garments in order to keep the dark blue color.
We don’t want to be fanatical about denim care, but we do strongly recommend that denim be washed a certain way in order to achieve the best look in the long run. It’s a very simple process, which we hope will bring long life to your 45rpm denim, as well as a new way of looking at clothing care.
Turn your pants inside out, machine wash in cold water, hang to dry. As well, do not wash too frequently, nor do you need to use a lot of detergent.
The reason many denim aficionados take care of their denim this way is to ensure that the color fades properly. Over-washed denim, too much detergent, the outside left that way to wash, and tumble drying will all cause indigo dye to fade evenly rather than where they distress naturally from your body and it’s movements. Tumble-drying also causes the fabric to get soft and for the cotton fibers to stick up, therefore losing more dye.
If you choose to wash your denim in this manner, we do suggest to our customers to purchase their denim on the snug side, in order to allow for the stretching out that occurs with most denim. If you choose to always tumble dry your denim, our fabric is pre-shrunk, but may tighten up just a little bit.
Our Supergauze T-shirts will shrink and twist if not washed properly! Please wash in the machine, cold water only, and hang or block to dry. On occasion, if they do get tossed in the dryer inadvertently, next time they are washed, hold the damp garment on the shoulder seams and snap it out a little bit. The garment will stretch out again, not exactly the same, so please be careful!
Our French Terry products tend to stretch a little with wear. We recommend washing them in the machine with cold water (separate darks, especially indigo) and line-dry. If the garment has stretched out, you may want to tumble-dry at a low heat before trying to dry at a higher heat.